I had heard the story of Birch creek canoes where originally build by a gentleman called Allan Bridges. His canoes where (amongst canoeists) classed as possibly the best canoes, revered for their superior design because they were a lightweight boat that’s extremely responsive to the paddler. Alan stopped building his canoes in early 2000.
Scott who runs the howies shop in Cardigan is a great waterman came in on Friday saying he had just bought a new canoe. Turns out that recently Allan has taught his son-in-law to build his canoes and Scott had the first one out of the mould.
So this this morning with the 18ft canoe hanging 2 feet out the back of the howies van we headed up the Teifi, and we hit the water at 7.00am and minus 2 degrees and paddled the 7.32 miles to work.
Check out the dodgey "explorer" hats. Elmer Fud and Crocodile Dundee.
When you pass Cillgeran and head into the gorge for about a mile there are no foot paths and no people and no cars and no noise. It's a real special place to paddle. The water was flat calm and the kingfishers provided the colour. It must be 2 years since I paddled to work with David, and something that we never did before he left. So I raised a swig of water to him as we passed his canoe pulled up below his house.
Because the canoe is fibre glass we couldn't crash over the rocks into the wildlife park, so we had to get out and carry it 100 yards to deeper water. After an hour paddling with my legs tucked under the seat, once I plunged them into water that should have frozen, I was a muscles twitch away from cramp in both legs and once back in the canoe my feet felt like someone had hammered flat. When it came to shallow water again, Scot let me stay in and waded knee deep in his Epic jeans. (It was a product test day cause I was out in my new Quick burst) Look at that lovely woodwork.
Even though it really isn't one, when you paddle into work and reach the final straight you feel like you have had a real adventure. And that's before work starts.
My life is always too busy now for big adventures, so today felt great to have squeezed one in between lighting the fire, breakfast and work.
And thanks Scott for letting me have the first ride in your very precious adventure craft. May you realise your dream to paddle it in Italy.